Connecting with the great outdoors via a camping trip is a great way to share priceless memories with your children or sweetie.  By using the Great Smoky Mountains as your backdrop, you will have a serene trip.  A trip filled with wonderful sights, smells, and experiences.  We recommend you ditch the passport and camp in the Smokies this summer.  Want to know how to go about making this camping trip the best experience that it can be?  Read on!

Family Camping In the Smokies

For families and couples who want to enjoy the national park for camping, there are 9 established front country campgrounds ready for you to set up camp: Abrams Creek, Big Creek, Balsam Mountain, Cosby, Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Cataloochee, Smokemont,  and Elkmont.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known as being a Primitive Park.  Some amenities that may be included at your campground are running cold water, grill grates, tables, and flushing toilets. For other things, such as showers, ice, and firewood the campers will need to utilize resources in the surrounding community.  They don’t call it roughing it for nothing!  The fee per night varies depending on the campground you choose.  The dates a particular campground operates will vary as well.  For the most part, the camp sites are open from March-October, but each one has different specific dates that can be checked here for your itinerary: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/frontcountrycamping.htm

Group Camping in the Smoky Mountains

There are seven great areas where group camping is allowed within the Great Smoky Mountains Park.    The parks are open for camping generally from mid-spring until October 31st, so plan accordingly and prepare for a great experience.  The cost of renting a group campsite per night is relatively low depending on the area of the park.  The following areas are national park camp sites and are for tent usage only: Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Smokemont, Elkmont.  These areas require that at least 8 people must be in a camping group.  Reservations open one year in advance for group camping and often fill quickly.

What to Do on Your Camping Trip

Stop and stock up on firewood (from a local source, never bring firewood from home!), food, and ice before coming to the campgrounds. Some don’t provide any amenities and have limited resources.  The surrounding towns, such as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, have great stores that can provide these vital things.  The best food of course will be yummy trout that you catch in the many streams and rivers through out the park!  Nothing says camping trip like the smell of fresh fish roasting over an open fire.  Well, some marshmallows for s’mores afterwards may say camping even more!

While on your camping trip, there are wonderful things to entertain you while within the park or in the neighboring communities!  As previously mentioned, fishing is a great way to have a relaxing and still useful activity.  Hiking is stress-relieving, and fun way to get in some exercise and marvel at the beauty of nature. Photographing the majestic sights is also a great way to have a fun time around the park (especially if you come across one of the awe-inspiring waterfalls)!  There are many roads winding through out the park, which makes it very accessible for auto tours.

There needn’t be a dull moment in your trip unless you WANT some quiet relaxation in your tent.

If you prefer not to sleep in a tent, but still want to enjoy Smokies nature, check out our Gatlinburg cabin rentals and make your roughing it a little less rough.  Enjoy your time in Tennessee!

Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest area information!

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